In this challenge, students examine the different features of Inuit, Acadian and/or prairie communities by creating a bank of powerful words to describe each community. Introduce the activity by reminding students of the value of strong describing words in creating pictures in people's minds. Ask students to suggest several describing words that might help someone imagine a specific place or situation they have not experienced (e.g., help someone who lives all year in a hot place to imagine what winter is like). List the words on the board (e.g., "freezing," "like being in a fridge," "it's cold inside your bones") and ask whether some of the words seem stronger than others. Through discussion, develop criteria for powerful words (e.g., fit the situation, fun to use, interesting, paint a clear picture). Record the criteria across the top of the board and invite students to decide which words meet all of the criteria. To help students understand the role of criteria, suggest several words that are not "powerful" words (e.g., the words do not apply to the situation and are very plain or confusing). Put a "check mark" or "happy face" beside those words that meet the criteria and an "X" or a "sad face" besides those that do not. (You may want to use a "dash" or a "neutral face" to represent words that are judged to meet the criteria to some extent.)
Display several pictures of one community and discuss what students see in the pictures. (A search of Google™ Image Search for "prairie (Canada)," "Inuit (Canada)" and "Acadia (Canada)" will produce many hundreds of colour prints for each region.) Use this opportunity to build students' knowledge of the community. Ask students to brainstorm strong words to describe this community. List the words on the board and ask the class decide which of them meet the criteria for a powerful word. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Provide additional books and magazines with pictures and drawings of this same community. Make a point of including pictures of major landforms, bodies of water and climatic conditions. Ask students to work with a partner to generate describing words that create a strong picture of the community. Add students' suggestions to the class list. When a word bank of important words has been generated, guide students in deciding which of these words meet the identified criteria for powerful words. Direct students to select their top 10 words.
Repeat these activities for the two other communities (soon after or at some later date) and compare the lists produced. You may find it helpful to adapt the chart and strategies for Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.